Fraudulent banking trio sentenced after £330k scam

Fraudulent banking trio sentenced after £330k scam


Three men who took part in an elaborate conspiracy to defraud a national bank were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court this week.

Sheraz Riaz, Asif Budhia and Mohammed Mahmood all assisted in a plot to defraud Mortgage Express, a subsidiary of Bradford & Bingley, and have all been found guilty of money laundering a total of £330,000.

Prosecutor Kirsty Watson said that the conspiracy to swindle the buy-to-let specialist Mortgage Express had occurred in 2007.

It was alleged that Bradford & Bingley employee Asif Budhia was at the heart of the scam and that another man, who had also been involved, was now on the run.

The court heard that Budhia identified which customer accounts to target and then processed fraudulent loan applications. The funds from three such loans were transferred into bank accounts held by the three defendants.

44-year-old Sharif of Middlesborough used the defence of duress in court after allowing £144,000 to be cleared through his account. After the plea was rejected, he was sentenced.

Handing him a 12 month jail sentence, Judge John Potter said: “You lied in the face of extremely strong evidence.”

Riaz had £160,000 paid into his account but most was recovered at an early stage. The Bradford Telegraph & Argus reported that Riaz had told the police that he had been taken at gunpoint by conspirators to withdraw money from his account.

As he handed him a 12-month suspended sentence, ordered him to do 100 hours unpaid work and instructed him to comply with a four month curfew, Judge Potter added that Riaz’s guilty plea had saved him from a stretch in jail.

Mahmood also pleaded guilty, after having £26,000 paid into his account. He was given a two-year community order with 150 hours unpaid work and a four-month curfew order.

Judge Potter said: “Money laundering nourishes and encourages crime in general.”

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